Paul Valery: Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them

21 Aug

Since the COnVID shut down, I do almost all my shopping online. I’m not talking about major purchases, but anything that generates sales tax. One day I noticed the shampoo bottle was almost tapped, so I ordered some. They offer free shipping with a $35 purchase, so I bought a brake cable for my bike, some shirts for my husband, and a new winter bed sheet (I know, it’s hard to imagine right now, how cold your ass is going to be in a few months, and then all the winter bedding will be sold out).

I had the shampoo within 4 days. 

I’m still waiting for the break cable, which came from an East Coast vendor. My husband is fixing up my old bike, it’s been sitting in the shed ever since the brake cable snapped on me at a really inconvenient bend in the road. The back tire needs replacing – another online order, next time we need toothpaste.

I like online shopping. I used to hate it when I had my PO box in Chico. My family has had packages lost, packages destroyed, packages stolen from, at the Chico Post office. I had to do the “Repo Man grab” for the last package – the staffers were unwilling to look for it in the mess of their backroom, they just kept sending me away. Finally,  I insisted that one clerk look at the tracking number, and finally he comes sheepishly out of the back room with package.

We’ve tried having packages delivered to Fed Ex and UPS but found the same problem – lazy staffers who wouldn’t do their job.  News flash – Larry Wahl sold his UPS stores, and the new owners are out-of-towners who don’t  give a shit, and charge $5 for pick-up.  UPS and FedEx drivers are great, but if you’re not going to be home, do you want a package laying on your doorstep? In this town? 

So, when a transient lit a fire in the annex where our box was contained, and later when we heard reports that boxes were continually getting broken into at the annex where they relocated us,

Investigation continues into P.O. box break-ins at Chico, Durham post offices

we decided we should move our post office box. Out of town. We found out you can get a PO box in any one of half dozen nearby towns, for the same rate, and the service and security are worlds apart from Chico post office. Orland, for example, is great, and only 30 minutes away.

I grew up on a farm. We always had to drive, everywhere, this is nothing new to me. And while we are picking up our mail, we can hit the grocery store – smaller towns are more likely to respect the exemptions to the mask mandate –  mine being, it cuts off the oxygen to your brain.

Do you “dine out”? My husband and I used to eat out a lot, when Chico was a nice, clean town. That all ended when they got a new health inspector for Butte County and suddenly we found notices on the doors of many of our favorite eateries, saying they’d been closed due to unsanitary conditions. We noticed, none of the taco wagons had been shut down, so now we don’t eat anywhere that doesn’t have wheels.

Wake up, restaurants are dirty, if you haven’t been in the kitchen, you shouldn’t eat there. But now, the city has mandated outside dining. They’ve shut down Downtown three nights a week for restaurants to take over the sidewalks. Well, I hope they’re enjoying the temperatures, air quality, and don’t forget the flies. All over downtown this time of year the flies are on everything. In this heat, you have an ambience of garbage and human excrement that brings them buzzing in. Add floating ash and the smell of a wet camp fire, and you have a recipe for failure of small restaurants all over town.

So you’d think the city of Chico would be strangling financially from all these losses. No, plenty of businesses are thriving. Liquor stores all over town are ringing up record sales, while bar owners pay their rent and watch the calendar.

A friend of mine recently remarked that the shut down is ruining lives, and people are very depressed, even suicidal.  I agree – my neighbor has been acting completely out of character. But who do you call? Butte County Behavioral Health complains that calls are down? What?

With calls and funding down, Behavioral Health focuses on restaffing, crisis intervention

CHICO — While statewide suicide prevention measures are under review, Butte County Behavioral Health faces high budget cuts this year with fewer resources available.

Residents like John Doe in Oroville using the county’s mental health services worry there is a reduced amount of staff available to help family members or themselves with mental health issues, and that phone counseling is “not the same” as in-person services.

Doe said he and his daughter were told there would be no more in-person counseling as well as fewer phone counseling services. He feels telehealth is not the same as it is less personal and “there’s nothing like face-to-face.”

“They got essential workers working at Walmart and they can’t even put these mental health workers as essential workers?” Doe said. “Mental health workers need to be essential. They are just as essential as people hooking up respirators. Services like this should not be disregarded.”

I agree with John Doe, but I don’t think it’s a funding issue, I think it’s a spending issue. Look at the first page of Butte County salaries – two Behavioral Health Workers get paid more than $200,000/each, plus benefits. The psychiatrist who gets almost as much as the county manager doesn’t even work in Butte County, but meets with the board via computer. 

https://publicpay.ca.gov/Reports/Counties/County.aspx?entityid=4&year=2019

Here’s just Behavioral Health – look at these salaries and benefits packages. For “managers”? What do they “manage”?

https://publicpay.ca.gov/Reports/Counties/County.aspx?entityid=4&year=2019

And they’re telling us, they don’t have resources? 

Well, you can call that in to your county supervisors cause their meetings are still closed. They have a better comments system, but, “Board of Supervisors meetings will  be closed to the public and all non-essential County staff for the foreseeable future. “

I read a great quote the other day, attributed to Paul Valery in the LA Times: “Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them.”  I’d say, we’ve elected a bunch of artists to public positions, and we need to put a candle to their asses to open the county and towns again. 

2 Responses to “Paul Valery: Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them”

  1. Scott Rushing August 21, 2020 at 1:48 pm #

    Another winner Juanita Also, In my opinion, your county DA, artistically crafting the hiring of deputy chief Madden, after a “nationwide search,” has once again shown he is a gifted artist and politician willing to spend taxpayer money with impunity. The search for a new chief, at taxpayer expense, was illusory from my POV. Scott

    On Fri, Aug 21, 2020 at 5:57 AM Chico Taxpayers Association wrote:

    > Juanita Sumner posted: “Since the COnVID shut down, I do almost all my > shopping online. I’m not talking about major purchases, but anything that > generates sales tax. One day I noticed the shampoo bottle was almost > tapped, so I ordered some. They offer free shipping with a $35 pu” >

    • Juanita Sumner August 22, 2020 at 1:58 pm #

      Thanks Scott, for pointing that out. It never occurred to me how much stuff Ramsey has his finger in around here.

      I wonder what it would be like if the citizens elected the chief. Some people think that would “politicize” the position, while I can see a good argument for accountability.

      And of course, we elect the sheriff – what is the difference there? I’m asking, anybody has an answer, bring it on down. This is a conversation that needs to be had. There are a lot of ways to manage law enforcement.

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